After a dreadful weekend of cancelled flights and cancelled Christmas plans for passengers, Southwest cancelled 70% of its flights on Monday. They threw in the towel – which would hopefully have given them time to put planes and people back in position and get employees legally required rest. Major disruptions take days to recover from because aircraft and people are left in cities that aren’t where they need to be.
However they have already cancelled 62% of Tuesday’s schedule, and 62% of Wednesday’s schedule. They may not operate more than a third of their flights through end of the year.
This is intentional, as the airline’s Chief Operating Officer tells employees in a memo:
Airports where Southwest Airlines operates a significant number of flights are chaos around the country.
AIRPORT MAYHEM: This is the @SouthwestAir cancellation line @AUStinAirport.
Hundreds of people are waiting to try to talk with someone at the Southwest counter. You can also see the hundreds of bags in baggage claim. @fox7austin pic.twitter.com/Qv8B5LYFUr
— Meredith Aldis (@MeredithonFOX7) December 26, 2022
It was striking to me, by the way, that I could book new seats on Southwest Airlines – a seat would pop up here and there – even as customers with cancelled flights are being told they can’t be reaccommodated for days. Southwest has stopped selling new tickets through December 31.